By SHEILA LASIBORI
IT is difficult for local manufacturers to compete with cheaper imports and even harder to challenge parallel imports, Manufacturers Council of PNG (MCPNG) said.
The imported goods are always made cheaper to avoid paying taxes and the parallel imports are products which have local counterparts, according to MCPNG chief Chey Scovell.
Mr Scovell said when a wholesaler or retailer could purchase cheaper the same product from a foreign supplier, it showed how far behind PNG was in providing an attractive environment in which to do business.
He said often the Government and the people called for wealth-creation and greater employment opportunities, and the key to this was to have a vibrant and diverse manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturing industries and small-scale value added industries provide for employment and an even distribution of wealth – something which has not been seen in extraction industries,” he said.
Mr Scovell said the growth of service industries would follow on the success of increased activity in manufacturing aside from agriculture.
While noting that customers would prefer cheaper products, he said people must be mindful of the implications of paying a little less for a product.
“Losing the local manufacturer would have far greater implications to the economy than the benefits of a few toeas savings.”
Mr Scovell said the reality is that the foreign-owned retailers would increase prices once the local manufacturer closes down.
The MCPNG is heading a promotion for the “PNG Made” brand, a campaign which coincided with its efforts to increase brand awareness for locally-manufactured products.
Mr Scovell said that PNG manufacturers were committed to making products to the highest international standards and one such example is the SP Brewery that keeps winning prestigious international awards for its entire beer range every year.
“In addition to making quality products, manufacturers are training and employing thousands of Papua New Guineans in meaningful long-term employment.
“Buying PNG made does not only create more jobs but also educates our children, provides valuable sponsorship to community events and sports and provides much-needed funds to the valuable contribution of NGOs and churches,” he said.